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Friday, November 26, 2010

Same Place But Different Times

We moved to Marine Parade HDB estate in 1975. At that time there was no East Coast Park (ECP) expressway from Changi International Airport to the City. It was still under construction. Although many instant trees had been planted at East Coast Park I could still have a good view of the park and the sea from my apartment. The open ground was very popular with kite enthusiasts. They flew fanciful kites of different shapes and designs. Some flew their kites for shows and others used their kites to 'fight' in the air.

Quite often my family walked to the park to feed the fish in the pond. The water then was clear and we could see fishes swimming around. There were also tortoises. They were usually found together sunbathing on the rocks in the middle of the pond. Other activities thereat included insects hovering around flowering plants. Occasionally we saw birds chirping on nearby trees.

Today, thirty five years later the scene has changed. Nobody goes to the pond to watch or feed the fish. The water is now covered with green and yellow algae making it hard for the fish to breed. In fact, the pond now looks repulsive. Furthermore, the ground around the pond is wet and muddy. Hope the authority would do something about it.

Picture below shows a clear view of the Marine Terrace HDB flats as seen from East Coast Park pond. The picture right below it shows the opposite. The view of the HDB flats is obstructed by the trees and plants in the park.

Picture taken in late 1970

Same place but different time (Nov 2010)

Pictures taken in late 1970

Pictures taken recently

Now all the trees and plants at the park have matured. Only the tops of the HDB flats at Marine Parade are visible as seen from the park. The lower parts of the buildings are mostly blocked by the trees and plants. The view of the ECP expressway is completely obstructed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fraser's Hill

In 1975 my wife applied for a Singapoore Government holiday bungalow at Fraser's Hill. Allocation of the bungalow was by a ballot. She was lucky and was allocated one unit called Singapore House. I took a slow drive with my family in the volgswagen, passing through the rural areas of Meleka and enjoying the rustic scenes of padi fields, bullock carts, running poultry, Malay kampongs as well as friendly kampong folks. At Port Dickson I stayed one night at Si-Rusa Inn. Behind the inn was the sea. At high tide the sea water was muddy and had many jelly fish. So, we did not swim. My four children was disapponted.

The next day I drove to the gap. Fraser's Hill town was about 800 m from the foot of the hill. The winding road to the top was about 8 km. The road then was opened on alternate hours (one hour for vehicles to go up and the next hour for vehicles to come down) each day. It took me about half an hour to reach to the top. I understand the road had been widen and it is a 2 way traffic now.

The bungalow was like a cottage in British country home. It had large bedrooms, a dining hall, a play area, a sitting room with a fire place and a kitchen. Our government had 3 such colonial bungalows for the civil servants. Each bungalow had a cook and a caretaker to look after the guests' needs. I paid the cook to prepare for all our meals as I was not familiar with the hill resort then.

In house activities were board games, table tennis and mahjong. We also explored the surrounding area. Fraser town had a clock tower and handful of food shops. We walked quite a distance to the waterfall. My children had horse riding. There was jungle trekking but I did not want to take chances with my children.

Si-Rusa Inn in the background

Si-Rusa Inn terraced chalets

The driveway at the gate was to the hill top.

Singapore House in the background

Keeping warm by the fireplace

A game of table tennis

Horse riding


At the waterfall

My four musketeers

My family